Tag Archives: Good

How Good is Too Good? The Ethics of Saints and Radicals

Elliot Ratzman,

OU ’92, Student Senate President 90-92.

elliott_ratzmanElliot Ratzman, OU Student Senate President 90-92, has studied at Harvard Divinity School, Hebrew University, and Princeton. He will receive his doctorate from Princeton’s Religion Department in the subfield of religion, ethics, and politics. He has taught at Vassar College, Temple University and will begin at Swarthmore in Fall 06. Besides writing about Jewish thought, social ethics, and Christian theology, Ratzman is also active in politics, having worked with various labor groups, the Israeli peace movement, and the campaign for justice in Darfur. He is also contributing editor to Heeb Magazine, a stand-up comic, and a professional breakdancer.


May 11th, 2006, 4:00 to 5:00 pm

Alden Library, Friends of the Library Room

Should I aspire to be a saint? With all of the problems in the world – hunger, disease, war, cruelty – where do I begin? What obligations do I have to suffering strangers who I may never meet? Is distant suffering more urgent than addressing local injustice? Am I a murderer if I do nothing? In this presentation, Ratzman will show how philosophers and religious thinkers have addressed these questions of radical responsibility, agency, and the persistence of evil. Some say morality demands we give until it hurts, others say it is impossible, perhaps inhuman, to behave saintly. Using the works of Peter Singer, Paul Farmer, and Orthodox Jewish theology, Ratzman will present some surprising possibilities.

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